Red Deer city council meetings will start earlier at 10:30 a.m. starting on June 20. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer city council meetings will start earlier at 10:30 a.m. starting on June 20. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer city council meetings to start earlier from June 20

Red Deer city council meetings will start earlier to prevent regularly going over-time.

Starting on June 20, council meetings scheduled for every second Monday will start at 10:30 a.m. instead of 12:30 p.m., which was the start time since the last election.

The rationale given to council is too many late-night meetings — or even meetings that occasionally go so late they must be continued on Tuesday morning.

Coun. Vesna Higham felt the earlier start time doesn’t give councillors much time to “digest “the hefty council agendas — especially after busy weekends. Noting that council positions are supposed to be half-time and not full-time, Higham added meetings used to start at 3:30 p.m. and were already moved up to 12:30 p.m.

But Mayor Ken Johnston supported the change, saying it comes down to preserving the health and wellness of city staff, who must attend the meetings, as well as councillors and members of the public that want to tune in.

And the majority on council opted for the earlier start. Coun. Cindy Jefferies summarized the sentiment, saying she understands Higham’s point, but “we have to be cognizant of staff time and the wear and tear on people.”

Public hearing times were unchanged. They will start at 5 p.m., as usual.

red deer city